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Cross-state sailing rivalry was quite a spectacle in Biloxi in 1936

Shortly after 1936 Governor’s Race, Biloxi city officials and the Louisiana committee began making plans for the next year’s race to be held in New Orleans.
Shortly after 1936 Governor’s Race, Biloxi city officials and the Louisiana committee began making plans for the next year’s race to be held in New Orleans. Local History Department, Biloxi Library

Pictured above on Labor Day, Sept. 7, 1936, Biloxi Mayor Louis Braun, center, presents Mississippi Gov. Hugh White, right, the winning trophy for the Governor’s Race, while his defeated opponent, Louisiana Gov. Richard Lech looks on.

The Governor’s Race, the first of its kind, occurred during the Biloxi Yacht Club’s 37th annual Labor Day Regatta. White was at the tiller of the Tradewind and Lech sailed the Chinook. Both of the boats, brought over by the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans, were of the exact Gulf One design.

Thousands of spectators flocked to the seawall to watch the competitors pit their skills one against the other around the club’s nine-mile race course.

With almost perfect timing, White and his crew took the lead and set the pace. Despite Lech’s gallant efforts, White crossed the finish stake with 58 seconds to spare.

The Sept. 8 Daily Herald reported that the bi-state race was “one of most spectacular and colorful events in the city’s history, and probably never before have so many notables from the two states gathered.”

Murella H. Powell, a local historian, writes the weekly Flashback column. Do you have a local photograph to submit to Flashback? It can be of any subject or event in the Coast’s distant or recent past. Please send a description with your name, address and daytime phone number to Flashback, the Sun Herald, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi MS 39535; or call 896-2424; or email living@sunherald.com.

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